Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe—in his role as chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe—has awarded his wife, Grace, a PhD degree just two months after her enrolment at the university.
Grace Mugabe registered for the degree in July this year, according to a report in the Zimbabwean media outlet bulawayo24.
The report said that Mrs Mugabe—who has most certainly set a world speed record for graduating with a doctorate—felt that her achievement “encouraged other people wishing to study to work hard and be principled.
“It requires one to work hard, be principled and I want to say others who may want to take the same road must work hard,” she said after her graduation ceremony.
Mrs. Mugabe’s doctoral thesis was titled, “The changing social structure, the functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe.”
In 2009 it was reported that Grace Mugabe opted out of her studies for a Bachelor of Arts (English) with a British university after she only managed to pass two subjects in almost a decade.
She was reportedly studying through correspondence but after she scored as low as 7 percent in a number of exams, her lack of progress prompted university officials to deregister her from the program.
However, Mrs. Mugabe’s academic brilliance was outshone by an even more amazing achievement by the vice president of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru.
Mrs. Mujuru graduated at the same ceremony with no less than two PhDs—one in “entrepreneurial development” and the other in “strategic management.” It is not known how many months the vice president had to slog away to get these two doctorates.
As if that was not enough, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Primary and Secondary Education was also awarded a doctor of philosophy degree, while the Zimbabwean Deputy Minister of Women, Gender and Community Development, Abigail Damasane, was awarded a Masters in Public Administration.
In July this year, Mrs. Mugabe, 49, accepted the nomination to lead the women’s league of her husband’s party, and she is now top favorite to succeed her 90-year-old husband as president.
During her acceptance speech for the women’s league, she told a crowd of thousands at her farm: “I might have a small fist but when it comes to fighting I will put stones inside to enlarge it, or even put on gloves to make it bigger. Do not doubt my capabilities.”
She was once a secretary in Mugabe’s office, and first came to prominence when it emerged that she had given birth to the president’s child while his first wife, Sally, lay bedridden due to a kidney ailment. Sally died in 1992. Mugabe has since claimed that Sally knew and approved of Grace, who was also married at the time.